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Seattle City Council

Homeless RV
Flickr Photo/A. Kwanten (CC BY NC ND 2.0)/

Bill Radke talks to Seattle City Councilmember Mike O'Brien about a King County superior court ruling that says the city can not impound a vehicle if a person is using it for shelter in the city of Seattle.

Apartment buildings in the University District, Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Kara McDermott

You've heard of the bidding wars for houses in the Seattle area, and now people are competitively bidding for rental apartments. Seattle lawmakers are trying to cut off the practice, known as rent bidding, before it takes off in the city.

On websites like Rentberry and Biddwell, landlords post an apartment and suggested rent, and prospective tenants can bid higher (or lower) to try to win the lease.

From left, Amazon software development interns Min Vu, Cindy Wang, Jason Mar, Katie Shin and Louis Yang, walk after getting bananas from the Amazon Community Banana Stand outside of the Amazon Meeting Center on Thursday, October 5, 2017, in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Seattle officials will once again try to pass an employee head tax on businesses. A similar idea failed in the city council last year, but council members — including Lisa Herbold, Lorena González and Mike O’Brien —  promised to bring it back.

A new proposal slated for review this spring would tax Seattle's highest-grossing companies based on their number of employees.

Seattle City Councilmember Lisa Herbold
Flickr Photo/Seattle City Council (CC BY 2.0)/

Seattle's anti-discrimination laws allow people up to 180 days to file a complaint against their employer. That statute of limitations would increase under a new Seattle City Council proposal, introduced this week.

The statute of limitations for workplace-discrimination complaints is about six months at the city, state and federal levels. The six-month timer starts when the alleged harassment occurs.

Jeff Simpson at his home outside Portland, Oregon.
Thomas Teal for The Stranger, licensed for KUOW

The city of Seattle turned a blind eye to allegations of sexual abuse against former Mayor Ed Murray, according to a new claim for damages filed by Murray’s former foster son.

It's not clear how many trees on private property in Seattle have been cut down for development projects.
KUOW Photo/Gil Aegerter

Tree advocates say if Seattle wants to do a better job counting and preserving trees, it should follow the lead of its suburbs.

Pioneer Square apartment listed at $130/night on Airbnb.
Courtesy of Airbnb

The Seattle City Council unanimously approved regulations Monday to limit short term rentals like Airbnb, after more than a year working out concerns from that and similar companies.

Under the new ordinance, most people will be allowed to operate two rental units max.

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan, left, playfully interrupted Seattle City Councilmember Debora Juarez as Juarez spoke about the renovation of KeyArena, Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017, in Seattle.
AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

Seattle officials have approved plans for a $600 million renovation of KeyArena. Many people are hoping the redesign will attract a new professional sports team to the city. City Councilmember Debora Juarez led the legislation. She was also among the female council members targeted by venomous comments and threats when they denied plans for a separate sports arena in the Sodo neighborhood. 

KeyArena in Seattle Center.
Flickr Photo/Doug Kerr (CC BY SA 2.0)/

Seattle is a step closer to getting a pro hockey team.

The National Hockey League has announced that they will consider a Seattle application for a professional hockey franchise.

Teresa Mosqueda greets supporters on Tuesday, November 7, 2017, at Optimism Brewing Company in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Seattle City Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda is serving her first full week in office after winning the November general election.

Councilmember Tim Burgess speaks after accepting a nomination from council member Lorena Gonzalez to become the intern mayor of Seattle, during a city council meeting on Monday, September 18, 2017, at City Hall in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Seattle will get a new mayor Tuesday — its fourth this year. Seattle mayor Tim Burgess will be handing over the office to Jenny Durkan, who was elected earlier this month. His farewell address, given in his final days in office, was as short as his tenure in the top job, which will clock in at just 71 days.

People pack city hall for a hearing on a proposed income tax
KUOW Photo/Kate Walters

A judge in King County has struck down Seattle's new income tax on higher earners.

It's the first ruling in a case that's expected to go all the way to the State Supreme Court.

Tents are shown as people gathered to protest the sweeps of homeless camps in November, 2017, at City Hall in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Seattle's City Council wants to bring back its "head tax" proposal — and soon. The idea is to tax the city's largest businesses based on their number of employees.

Seattle City Hall
Flickr Photo/Daniel X. O'Neil (CC-BY-NC-ND)/

In 2014 Mayor Ed Murray ordered all City of Seattle departments to apply a racial equity lens to their work. But an examination by KUOW shows the response was less than robust.

While some departments did the work in 2015, others provided incomplete versions of what are called “racial equity toolkits.” A quarter of city departments didn’t do the work at all that year.


Seattle mayor-elect Jenny Durkan assembles her transition team, and the City Council rejects a head tax on big Seattle businesses – for now. We'll cover the latest from City Hall as Durkan's swearing-in fast approaches.

Jenny Durkan at her election night party on Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2017
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Seattle mayor-elect Jenny Durkan greeted her 61-member transition team at a meeting at McCaw Hall Thursday. Members gave her a standing ovation after her introduction by former King County Executive Ron Sims, who said he is “ecstatic” about Durkan’s win.

Jim Loter documented building a backyard cottage in Seattle. Here's a picture from day 25: erecting the walls.
Flickr Photo/Jim L (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Seattle officials are conducting an environmental review of the entire city to look at the possible impacts of building more backyard cottages. Some lawmakers want to make it easier for homeowners to build them.

Residents can weigh in now on the scope of that environmental review.

Traffic on Second Avenue in downtown Seattle.
Flickr Photo/Oran Viriyincy (CC-BY-NC-ND)/

When the Highway 99 tunnel through Seattle opens to traffic in 2019, state transportation officials plan to charge a toll to drive through it.

That has prompted another idea to gain steam: a toll on downtown surface streets.

A homeless encampment in Seattle's Rainier Valley, taken March 2016.
KUOW Photo/Ruby de Luna

People from several Seattle organizations plan to camp at Seattle City Hall Wednesday night. They plan to roll out sleeping bags and blankets on the outside plaza and inside the City Hall doors. 

File photo of homeless ecampment under bridge.
KUOW Photo

Bill Radke talks to Seattle City Councilmember Mike O'Brien about a proposed head tax that would require high earning businesses in Seattle to pay $100 per employee. The funds raised would go towards programs that help people experiencing homelessness.  

A homeless encampment in Seattle's Rainier Valley, taken March 2016.
KUOW Photo/Ruby de Luna

Seattle City Council members are considering a tax on big business to fund services for homelessness.

This kind of tax is often known as a “head tax” or “employee hours tax.” And it’s actually nothing new for Seattle. The city had something like it for transportation funding, until it was repealed in 2009.

A previous attempt at providing broadband service through a public-private partnership fell apart in 2013.
Flickr Photo/Steve Rhode (CC BY-NC-ND)

Remember municipal broadband? The idea suffered a blow in Seattle when a partnership involving the city, the University of Washington and a private company fell apart in 2013.

But the dream never died. Now supporters are pushing another campaign.

A scene from a simulation by the Washington State Department of Transportation of what could happen if a massive earthquake hits the Alaskan Way Viaduct.

Hundreds of old brick buildings in Seattle are at risk of collapsing during a major earthquake – that’s clear.

Also clear: These structures are often in neighborhoods with high risk for displacement – affecting people of color and low-income households.

Queen Anne Avenue is now zoned to allow 85ft buildings between Denny Way and Roy Street
Flickr Photo/Matthew Rutledge (CC BY-NC 2.0)/

Taller developments will now be allowed in Seattle's lower Queen Anne neighborhood. The City Council unanimously passed a rezone measure on Monday.

It’s the last of five neighborhood rezones expected this year, after legislation was already approved for the University District, Chinatown-International District, parts of the Central Area, and downtown/South Lake Union.

Mayor Tim Burgess answers questions on Monday, September 18, 2017, after taking the oath of office and becoming the mayor of Seattle, at City Hall in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Seattle Mayor Tim Burgess has unveiled his proposed 2018 city budget.

It's perhaps the most important thing he’ll do in his short time in the mayor’s office and he made sure to insert some of his own priorities into the document before presenting it to council.

FILE: Then-Councilmember Tim Burgess signs an official document after taking the oath of office and becoming the mayor of Seattle on Monday, September 18, 2017, at City Hall in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Seattle Mayor Tim Burgess will unveil his 2018 city budget Monday.

Most of the work on the budget had already been done before Burgess ascended to the office of mayor last week.

But he’s included some legislation of his own.

Councilmember Tim Burgess, right, takes the oath of office, administered by Seattle City Clerk Monica Simmons, on Monday, September 18, 2017, becoming the mayor of Seattle, at City Hall in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Seattle has another new mayor, the third in less than a week.

Seattle City Council President Bruce Harrell signs an executive order on Wednesday, September 13, 2017, after taking the oath of office and becoming the mayor of Seattle at City Hall.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Bruce Harrell, president of the Seattle City Council, has been mayor for two days. 

Seattle City Council President Bruce Harrell is sworn into office by city clerk Monica Simmons, right, becoming the mayor of Seattle, on Wednesday, September 13, 2017, at City Hall.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Seattle has a new mayor.

The inside of the elevators at Amazon headquarters in Seattle.
Flickr File Photo/cheukiecfu CC BY-NC-ND:

Bill Radke speaks with Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant, Washington State GOP chair Susan Hutchison, and Geekwire editor and co-founder Todd Bishop about whether or not Seattle's progressive climate has pushed Amazon to open a second headquarters outside of Seattle.